the tale of the iphone
July 13, 2009
Okay, so I told you that I dropped my iphone into Flaming Gorge Reservoir, right? I’ve spent the subsequent 10 days or so phone-less, which makes Kim kind of happy, but makes me kind of edgy.
Upon my return to civilization, my distinguished brother in law, Sleepy, let me know that he had cracked the screen of his iPhone a couple months ago, and when the Apple store refused to help him out, his company had replaced his iPhone. Which meant he had a cracked iPhone just sitting in his truck. But I wasn’t terribly excited about having an iPhone, free or not, with a cracked screen.
Which is when Sleepy dropped his voice a bit.
“Well,” he said. “As I was leaving the Apple store, someone stopped me and said “I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation back there about your cracked iPhone. I know they can’t help you, but . . . I know a guy.””
And he slipped Sleepy a business card with an Eastern European name on it.
Sleepy filed it with the iPhone in the armrest of his truck.
So he passed to me the cracked phone AND the name and number on the card. And I called.
The voicemail on the other end had a heavy Germanic accent, and said “yes, hello please. I repair iPhone screens. Leave me a message.”
Which, of course, I did.
And Franz called me back a few hours later and said, “Yes, I can fix you. Meet me Monday at 11:00 at the Holiday Gas Station in Taylorsville. I’ll be in a green Honda Accord. I’ll fix your screen and unlock/jailbreak your phone for $90.”
Um. Okay. Sure. It’s a date.
At 11:00 I pulled into the Holiday parking lot, got out of my car, and kind of leaned on the hood, clutching my iPhone in my hand, thinking Hey, he’ll see it and know it’s me.
A nice green Honda Accord pulled into the lot, and a guy got out and went inside. He came back out a few minutes later, looked in my general direction while I tried frantically to make eye contact, kind of holding up my cracked phone, and then got in his car and drove off. I’m pretty sure he called the cops and let them know someone was soliciting in the Holiday parking lot.
A couple minutes later a much less nice green Honda Accord pulled up and a guy with a ratty pony tail and an excess of tattoos got out and looked at me. “Did you call me?”
I confirmed that I was indeed his mark, er, customer, and he said “Okay. Follow me.” And he got in his car and drove away. I followed.
We pulled into a relatively decent neighborhood, but turned into the driveway of the least decent house in it. I began to worry a bit about my lack of connectivity to the world. I’m not used to not having my phone. Did I mention, I get jumpy?
We went inside and he plopped a laptop and some tools and a bag of latex gloves down on the kitchen counter. A teenage girl lounged on a couch, reading a book. A dozen (I counted) cats roamed the kitchen/living room. One cat kept jumping up on my lap, leaving clumps of hair on my shirt and pants.
“Okay,” said Franz, ignoring the cats. “First I fix the screen.” And he donned the latex gloves, used a tiny screwdriver to remove a couple tiny screws, and, using a little suction cup attached to his car key ring, popped the screen off, all the while chatting amiably. “See, I used the gloves so no fingerprints on the screen. I use the suction cup to no break the seal so warranty still good.”
How about that?
After about 20 minutes, he popped the new screen on, plugged the phone into his laptop, and downloaded some unlock/jailbreak software to the phone.
“And now,” he said casually, “we need wifi. I do not have here. Let us get in your car and drive until we find.”
Hmm. Sure. Awesome. Let’s.
And we did. I slowly drove the neighborhood while he monitored the wifi on the phone, searching for an unsecured connection.
“HERE! Stop here!” Of course I did.
He punched some buttons, pursed his lips, messed with the phone a bit, and suddenly said “There you go. All done.”
I passed him my $90, he passed me the phone, and, well, there you go.
Easy as pie. But I’m still a little shaken. And not a little grateful that I didn’t end up in a dumpster somewhere in West Valley.